Ellen McLaughlin - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage



Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 3/21/2021


 Photo by Atner Yegorov via Pixabay

Do you have an old fence that has good bones but nonetheless is detracting from the overall aesthetic of your outdoor living space? If so, consider giving the fence a facelift rather than tearing it down and replacing it with a brand-new version. You don't have to be a professional fence contractor to breathe new life into an ailing fence. Here's what you need to do:

Inspect the Fence Carefully

The first step in giving your fence a facelift is performing comprehensive, honest inspection. Are the fence posts still firmly rooted, and are the railings relatively free of rot and fairly intact? Identify any problem areas and mark them clearly with a waterproof marker so that you can easily find them again. 

Make a Game Plan

The next step is to repair and reinforce your fence -- resist the urge to pressure was it at this time because that will only make any existing damage worse. If necessary, replace broken or rotten railings and posts. Because fences feature sectional construction, you don't have to take the whole fence apart in order to replace posts and rails.

Wash the Fence 

It is not necessary to own or rent a power washer to clean your wooden fence. If you do decide to use one, keep it on the lowest possible setting. A garden hose will work just as well, although some people do prefer to use a power washer for larger fences. 

Wash your fence by sections. The first step is to thoroughly wet the fence before cleaning it with a soft cloth, a fiber brush, and a solution of mild detergent and warm water. Let the solution sit for several minutes on areas of the fence with significant grime or stains -- and use the brush to remove stubborn patches of dirt. Add up to two cups of bleach to your cleaning mixture if your fence has multiple stained areas. Be sure to rinse each section thoroughly before moving on to the next. 

Paint or Stain the Fence

A fresh coat of paint or stain works wonders to increase the aesthetics of a wooden fence. White paint provides a fence with a classically upscale look, while staining it a neutral tone enhances a natural look. Whichever you choose, it's bound to elevate the overall curb appeal of your property.  

Depending on the size of your fence, the extent of the damage, and whether you decide to paint or stain it, the project will probably only take a couple of days. Most homeowners do the cleaning and the repair work one day and save the painting or staining for the following day. 




Tags: home impovements   DIY   fences  
Categories: DIY  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 11/29/2020

Image by mnplatypus from Pixabay

Proper insulation not only helps you save on your energy bills. It reduces your energy impact on the environment and may create a great selling point for your home when the time comes. But knowing were to insulate an existing home can be a project. Here's what you need to know.

How to Do an Insulation Assessment

First, you'll need to turn off the power at the breaker box. Have your flashlights ready. 

Remove outlet covers around your home and look inside to see if you have insulation. You might not have to check every outlet, but do check them on multiple floors and one on each wall to understand how well walls are insulated. 

If you have a wall that gets hot in the summer or cold in the winter, you may want to dig deeper. Pull a little out to see what kind it is and how thick it is.

Next, check your attic, basement and crawlspaces. This insulation you can more easily see. Use a yardstick to measure its depth and look for areas that are thinner than others.

Additionally, you may consider insulating:

  • Around storm windows
  • On band joints
  • Around pipes that might freeze
  • Between the studs on a finished attic floor
  • What You'll Need to Install Installation

    There are many insulation projects you can DIY. For example, re-caulking leaky windows and sealing drafty doors can help tremendously. But you can also add insulation in the attic and basement with either loose-fill or blanket insulation. Here's what you need.

  • LED lamp clip-on. You need your hands, so flashlights won't cut it.
  • Insulation of choice
  • 1-2 3/4" plywood panels to stand on if there's no floor
  • Goggles and a mouth/nose mask to protect your eyes and lungs
  • Long sleeves and gloves to reduce residue settling on your skin. Some materials cause terrible itching and bleeding if scratched.
  • Staple gun (for rolls) or insulation blower (for loose)
  • Prep the Area

    Take this opportunity to look for leaks. If you see signs of active water damage, you need to repair it before laying insulation. Now, place your plywood so you have somewhere to stand safely.

    Lay Insulation

    Lay insulation in areas where it's lacking. You can staple it to roof beams and beams on the floor. Just cut it to size if needed. 

    Keep in mind that when you open a pack of roll insulation, it expands. So please don't open it until you have it in the general area where you want it.

    *Pro tip* To cut blanket insulation more easily to fit, lay a two-by-four over the place where you want to cut it. This temporarily compresses it there so that you have a thickness that's easier to cut through.

    If using loose insulation, power up your insulation blower and aim where padding is needed. Always, carefully rinse off after applying insulation to reduce skin and lung exposure.

    And you're ready for lower energy bills through winter and summer. For more tips DIY home maintenance tips, follow our blog.




    Categories: DIY  


    Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 11/1/2020

    Photo by Agung Pandit Wiguna from Pexels


     

    You see it in your favorite magazines -- or maybe on Pinterest. The ultimate outdoor dining and entertainment experience has elevated basic hosting to an art form, and you can use your existing set up to create a truly spectacular experience for your family and your guests. Follow the tips below to make the most of your entertainment spread and to create an event your guests won't soon forget.

    Choose a Theme

    You don't have to have a formal idea of what you'll do, or even list it out in great detail, but "authentic Hawaiian luau" looks very different from "Easter Dinner" so knowing what you want to accomplish helps you create an actionable road map.

    Plan the Food

    Plan out a menu and order any specialties that you need to; specialty foods, meats and even poultry need to be ordered in advance to ensure you are able to get everything you need when you need it. Depending on your own storage space, arrange to have your purchases delivered. Store on dry ice if needed before the big day arrives.

    Determine Seating

    Your outdoor entertaining area is probably designed with your own family in mind, but a larger group will need more places to sit and relax. Consider renting pieces and having them delivered and set up for the event. You'll be able to host everyone in comfort and not have to worry about running out of room.

    Order decor:

    Order the items you need for serving, if you don't already have them on hand. Depending on the size and theme of the gathering, you may need additional plates, flatware, stemware and more. Again, a rental place can furnish you with many of the things you need at surprisingly affordable rates. This is also the time to order flower arrangements, entertainment and other things that will create ambiance.

    Clean it up

    Your outdoor kitchen is already in great shape, but having a team to up the yard, clean all surfaces and ensure your home is ready to entertain will give you a break and ensure you feel ready to show your place off.

    Set up in the Morning

     Even if you have an evening event planned, setting up key pieces in place, making sure drinks are cold enough to share and prepping the food early will allow you the time you need to get ready for your guests and give you the chance to enjoy your own gathering.

    Get ready to show off. With the food ready, seating in place, and an outdoor oasis that is truly event ready, you'll be able to show off your entertainment spread and make the most of your home and yard. Careful preparation, paired with attention to detail allows you to share your favorite space with your friends and family, and to show off what you've worked so hard to create.

    Outsourcing some food and prep work can help you focus on the actual event and on creating the recipes and experiences you most want to share. Check out any components you are considering doing on your own, just to make sure the DIY approach is truly the swiftest or most affordable way to get ready for your event. 

    Start planning a few weeks in advance -- this will give you time to order any decorative items you need and to special order food for your guests. You'll be more relaxed on the big day and be better able to enjoy yourself and your home.




    Categories: DIY  


    Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 7/21/2019

    Everyone has experienced that overflowing, chaotic closet. Clothes everywhere and you can't find what you're looking for. For some, this occurs occasionally, but for others, especially those with smaller closets, this can be a constant stressor that effects your time getting ready in the morning and your mental stress when trying to get where you're going. Not everyone can afford a fancy closet system that easily helps organize your clothes, and some simply don't have the space to implement one. So, what can you do to help yourself organize your clothing without installing a system? Here are a few simple organization methods to consider.

    Organize by like colors. 

    If you pair your outfits by matching colors, it can help to organize your clothing by color. Arrange black with black, blue with blue and so on. It can further help to hang your clothes to organize by color and in a sort of gradient pattern. Start with black, then grey, then white, then yellow, green, blue, purple pink, brown, patterns, etc. You get the idea. When you look in your closet each morning, you can head directly for the color you want to wear that day and easily find the clothes to match.

    Organize by like items. 

    Hanging your clothing by like items is another simple way to organize. Hang jeans, pants, skirts then dresses together. Then, hang shirts together and separate by type: tank-tops, t-shirts, long sleeves, button downs, sweaters, sweatshirts, jackets. When you go to get ready, you'll be able to easily see the different pieces you need to complete your outfit.

    Organize by purpose. 

    If you wear specific clothing for work that you donít wear outside of work, it can be beneficial to organize your clothing by purpose. Put all your work-wear together and all your casual wear together. Place workout clothes together and all your dress clothes together. 

    Organize by frequency worn. 

    One more idea, particularly useful for narrow closets is to separate your clothes by the frequency that you wear them. Put the clothing you wear most toward the front of your closet and the clothes you wear least toward the back. Depending on the season you might consider moving your winter or summer clothing to the back of your closet until the appropriate time. 

    By implementing any one or a combination of the methods above you'll be well on your way to staying organized, saving time and reducing morning stress. If you have a lot of clothing and will be moving to a new home soon make sure that a large closet with a built-in organization system is on your checklist of required home features. Your professional real estate agent will help you find the best home for your wardrobe.




    Tags: organization tips   how to   DIY  
    Categories: DIY   how to   organization tips  


    Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 7/29/2018

    There are many benefits to installing a security system in your home. It gives you a sense security and safety for you and your family. Youíll be able to be away from your home for both short and long periods with a peace of mind. The one choice youíll need to make is the type of security system that you want to be installed in your home. Some alarms are manned by commandoes while others have much more simplistic designs.   


    While some systems are installed by a professional, others are easier to install and can be done with a DIY approach. Remember that you can always start small and install a more complicated system as time goes on. You donít even need to know how to use a drill or have any kind of technical expertise for most DIY install security systems. Below, youíll find the basic steps that you should know before you install a home security system.


    Basic Components In Your Home Security Package


    • The main panel complete with keypad
    • Sensors
    • Motion detectors


    These are the basic things that will come with every home security system no matter how simple or fancy you get in your alarm system selection. The number of sensors that you need will depend on the number of doors and windows that are in your home. It also is based on your own personal preference. Remember that these sensors will be activated every time a door or window is opened when they are installed in your home. 

     

    Install The Security Panel


    Security panels are often wireless and should be placed near a power source to plug the panel in. These should also have a backup battery of some sorts. You can either place a nail on the wall or put an adhesive on the back of the panel. Itís really that simple to put the panel up!


    Install The Sensors In Your Home


    Security systems will come with door and window sensors and possibly along with some motion detectors. They will be placed with a moveable adhesive for your convenience. Every security system will come along with instructions for the optimum locations to place these sensors in. 


    Test Your System


    Once you have completed the above steps, youíll need to test your system to ensure that it has been properly activated and that everything is working properly. The specific system that youíre installing should also come along with some instructions for testing purposes. 


    While DIY home security systems seem fairly simple, they arenít for everyone. Some homeowners prefer more complex systems to suit their needs. If a professional installation is for you, you should avoid self-install security systems altogether.    


     




    Categories: Home Security   DIY